Hickinbottom Award

The Hickinbottom Award is for contributions to any area of organic chemistry from an early career scientist.

2019 Winner

Dr Allan Watson

2019 Hickinbottom Award Winner

Dr Allan Watson, University of St Andrews

General information

  • Run annually
  • The winner receives 2000, a medal and a certificate
  • The winner also receives the 4000 Briggs Scholarship to support one of their research students  
  • The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
  • The winner will be chosen by the Organic Division Awards Committee

Guidelines for Nominators

  • Nominations open on 01 October
  • Nominations close on 15 January 
  • Only RSC Members can nominate for this award
  • Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
  • The award is open to nominees working in the UK or Republic of Ireland only
  • Nominees should be an early career scientist, typically with no more than 10 years of full-time equivalent professional experience. 
  • This should be experience gained as part of a scientific career excluding time spent in full-time education. Time spent as a postgraduate student should not be included e.g. Masters, PhD. Time spent as a post-doctoral researcher should be included. 
  • Nominators will be asked to provide details of the nominee's professional experience, in relation to the above criteria.   
  • Career breaks will be recognised, and applications are particularly encouraged from those whose career has spanned a break due to caring responsibilities or personal circumstances e.g. a period of parental/adoption leave, family commitments, illness, or other exceptional circumstances.
  • Nominees will be assessed on their work published in the previous five years
  • When nominating previous RSC prize or award winners, please remember that a person cannot be awarded twice for substantially the same body of work    

To make a nomination please use our online awards nominations system  to submit the following:

  • Your name, contact details, and membership number (please contact the RSC Membership team if you do not know your membership details)
  • The nominee's name and contact details 
  • An up to date CV for the nominee (no longer than one A4 side, 11pt text) which should include a summary of their education and career, a list of 5 relevant publications, total numbers of publications and patents (if appropriate) and website URL if relevant
  • A supporting statement (up to 4500 characters, not including spaces) addressing the selection criteria
  • A short citation describing what the nominee should be awarded for. This must be no longer than 250 characters (not including spaces) and ideally no longer than one sentence
  • The names and contact details of two referees. Please inform referees of the nomination as the awards system will contact them as soon as the application is submitted. Referees may not include the nominee's post-doc or PhD supervisor 
  • Referees must provide reports by 31 January
  • We will contact nominators and referees of nominees with outstanding references one week after close of nominations on 15 January once only.          

The RSC reserves the right to rescind any Prize or Award if there is reasonable grounds to do so. All nominators will be asked to confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, there is no confirmed or potential impediment to their nominee receiving this prize/award related to their professional standing. Our Professional Practice and Code of Conduct can be referred to as a guide on expected standards.

Downloadable Files

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Selection Criteria for RSC Awards

Our selection committees base their evaluations primarily on the overall quality of relevant contributions made by nominees and not simply on quantitative measures.

The selection committee(s) will consider the following aspects of all nominations for scientific research Awards as appropriate:

  • Originality of research
  • Impact of research
  • Quality of publications and/or patents and/or software
  • Innovation
  • Professional standing
  • Independence 
  • Collaborations and teamwork
  • Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominee/nominator       

Guidelines for Referees

  • The awards system will contact referees to inform them that they must provide reports (of up to 4500 characters, not including spaces) by 31 January.
  • We will contact nominators and referees of nominees with outstanding references after one week after close of nominations on 15 January once only.
  • Referees must state their relationship (if any) with the nominee and note any conflicts of interest.     

Organic Division Awards Committee

  • Stuart Conway, University of Oxford (Chair)
  • Steve Marsden, University of Leeds
  • Sarah Skerratt, MSD
  • Alethea Tabor, University College London
  • Mariola Tortosa, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
  • Andrew C Williams, Eli Lilly

Previous Winners

Hickinbottom Award Previous Winners

1981 - present

History of the Award

Established in 1979 following a bequest from Wilfrid Hickinbottom, the Hickinbottom Award also includes a Briggs scholarship, funded by a bequest from William Briggs' daughter Lady Alice Lilian Thorpe.

Wilfrid John Hickinbottom, born in 1896, spent his school years at King Edward's School, Birmingham.  Following a period spent at the Royal Naval Cordite factory during the war he studied chemistry at the University of Birmingham, graduating with a first class honours in 1921.  Following this he completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor G. T. Morgan.

His academic career saw him appointed as an assistant lecturer (1924) and then lecturer (1927) in the University of Birmingham's department of chemistry.  In 1930 his work in the area of aromatic amine chemistry and carbohydrate chemistry earned him a Doctor of Science degree. He took up readership at Queen Mary College in 1947 during a time of post-war financial difficulty, with 5 pounds of funding offered for a year of research!  However, with support from the Institute of Petroleum Hickinbottom built a research group that investigated the reactions of hydrocarbons.  

Hickinbottom preferred a more classical approach to research and his contemporaries noted that he was not very receptive of the emerging electronic theory of organic chemistry.  He was however very supportive of the development of high standards of experimental chemistry as shown by his handbook Reactions of Organic Compounds, first produced in 1936 and still treasured in teaching labs today.  In 1960 he became professor of organic chemistry before retiring as emeritus professor in 1963 and later becoming a visiting professor at the University of Khartoum.

Hickinbottom, who married the professional pianist Greta Parkinson in 1953, enjoyed painting and spent hours in the Essex countryside in pursuit of this hobby.  Peers described him as mildly eccentric but always a gentleman, demonstrated during his retirement years when he kept an open house in Guildford for the steady stream of former research students who visited.

Submit your nomination

Related Links

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Deadline for nominations is 15 January 2020. Your nomination can be saved and completed at any time.

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Contact and Further Information

Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF
Tel: +44 (0)1223 420066